General Travel Tips
Many years of my
work as a professional tourist taxi driver in India and Nepal I drove
more then one million km. without accident, during all this time I
always discover and collect information from other places which is
useful for any western tourist during there India travel. Here below is
the list which will help you lot if you careful about all this:
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committed to offering unbiased, experienced travel advice to people just
like us. We are a culture of travelers who are passionate about the
experience of traveling and the importance of immersing oneself in India
- the country you are visiting to better learn to appreciate it’s
people, cultures and wildlife.
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General Travel Tips
for India & Nepal
A proper VISA to
enter and stay in India & Nepal is a must. There are reported cases when
travelers are advised non-requirement of Indian/Nepal VISA by their
travel agents. Practically every foreign national requires VISA to enter
Do not encourage
strangers with money. Trust your hotel, but not people you may bump into
on the streets.
Don't offer bribes
to get any job done. Bribe-taking and bribe-giving are a common practice
in India but they are intended to speed up things or win a favor that
you are not entitled to. Plan well in advance. Use consultants or trade
and industry associations. If you expect favors, let them come free or
not at all. Warn anyone (even in government) who asks you for a bribe
that you would report him to the Anti-Corruption Bureau or the nearest
police-station. If he persists, do it discreetly so that he can be
Indian English has
its own delights especially to foreigners of English nativity. Don't
show amusement at the different Indian accents and choice of words. This
does not take away from the fact that many Indians speak and write
better English than many native English speakers.
It is advisable to
cover yourself with travel insurance for thefts, loss and medi-claim.
Carry proper maps of
the places proposed to visit in India/Nepal, as signboards are often
absent. Try to reach a station during daytime if traveling on your own.
In any case avoid persistent touts and taxi-drivers at
airport/stations/bus stand to help you find your hotel. Always use
tourist assistance desk for proper advice.
alone in certain deserted places should avoid walking at odd hours.
money, insist on getting encashment certificate.
Do not checkout of
the hotel in hurry. While checking out it has been noticed in some
hotels, the extras are unreasonably charged which the guest hurriedly
pays without cross-checking.
Do not leave your
cash and valuables in your hotel rooms. Keep your cash divided in
Take care of proper
disposal of your rubbish always whether you are exploring desert, or
Himalayas or beaches or anywhere else.
Don't accept offers
of visiting anyone's home unless you are confident of the person.
Use licensed guides
Always use strong
suitcases/baggage, as mishandling is common at airports/stations.
unreasonably and unnecessarily in a hotel. The NEWS soon spreads in the
hotel and by the time you checkout there will be a group of them
saluting you to expect something.
In Monsoon time
avoid night stay in the desert while you do camel safari.
Most of the
monuments give very good discount for students from all over the world.
They must carry there valid school identity card.
Traveling in Trains,
Buses & Flights
Often train’s and
flights are get delayed and can be cancelled at the last moment without
any prior notice. Yesterday (25.3.08) it happens with one of my client
from USA and they phone me about this situation from Jodhpur town at
9.00pm and there connecting flight to States was just after three hours,
It was horrible situation for both us. So it is always better to arrive
one day before to your departure destination to catch your International
don't act confused. Keep a posture of a person known to the region.
If you are traveling
in the trains then you may have to reserve your seats in advance, last
time it will be not so easy to get confirm seat reservation.
Buses are not as
comfortable as trains.
Trains and buses are
the best and cheapest option if you are traveling for more then one
Be careful about
your luggage while you travel in train or in bus.
Khajuraho to Varanasi is often over booked so try to get boarding pass
as soon as possible otherwise they will provide you car for to go
It is always better
to arrive one hour before scheduled departure at the train station and
one and half hour before any domestic flight.
Always chain and
lock your luggage under your berth in a train. Don't keep anything
valuable near the window. Always carry plenty of water, fruits in
trains. Alone woman traveler may request to be accommodated near other
Don't eat anything
offered by fellow travelers on train or road travels. It might have
sleeping pills. Always travel reserved class in trains.
Car - Private
Transportation for Travel
Cars are one of the
best and safest way to travel in India, if you are not traveling for
months in India.
Make sure that your
driver is trained for defensive driving and speak basic English.
As a driver you
always have one person with you to help you and your luggage is always
Always avoid driving
at night on Indian highways, It is not recommended.
Avoid self driving
in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads.
If you feel not
comfortable by the driving or he drives fast is always better to tell
him to drive slow.
Do not visit places
which encourage orthodoxy, social injustice and inhuman practices (like
visiting a sati temple).
Politics can be
freely discussed in India and most people will have an opinion which
they will not mind being contradicted. But avoid discussing religion.
Avoid offers of
spiritual salvation and magic remedies from saints, god men and quacks.
There may be some spiritually elevated people in India, but there is no
way you can distinguish the genuine ones from the crooks. If you are
seriously interested in these aspects of India, take help from someone
you know or visit one of the respected spiritual organizations in India.
Don't ever enter a
temple, mosque, tomb, dargah or Gurudwara ( Sikh Temple) with shoes on
and/or scantily dressed. One should cover his/her head with a cloth
while in a Gurudwara or Dargah. Parikrama or walking around the sanctum
sanctorum should always be in clockwise direction. Also should use your
Food & Water
Take care of
contamination of water and food problem. Always drink safe mineral water
and take well-cooked food.
Drink bottled water
only. Even many Indians who have lived out of India for a few years
sometimes suffer stomach upsets on drinking local tap water. If there is
no alternative to tap water, ensure it is boiled. Most famous brand is
Bislery, Aqua Fina and Himalaya.
Avoid eating buffet
meals, even in expensive hotels. The food may become contaminated due to
If you are buying
from roadside stalls or hawkers, bargain you must. Start by offering
half the price they ask for and settle for 70 - 80 per cent. Don't
bargain in proper shops especially those that display "Fixed Price"
signs: that will be seen as bad manners.
Never buy food from
roadside stalls or mobile canteens. Not that they are bad, but your
system may not be accustomed to such delicacies and you might end up
spending more time in the loo than normal.
Chicken Tikka, Chicken Curry, Malai Kofta and Naan these are the most
famous dishes eaten by western people and they like them very much.
King fisher Lager
bear is one of the most general alcoholic drinks taken by any western
Lassi & water is one
of the most general non alcoholic drinks taken by any western tourist.
Not only drink
bottled water also brush teeth with it.
If driving between
cities, have your hotel pack a lunch for the road.
Society & Trends
Participating in a
social occasion or visiting a home requires conservative dress codes. Do
not shake hands with ladies. Always pick up a thing and eat with your
right hand. Take only as much as you can eat, do not leave anything
uneaten over the dish.
Do not point your
finger at any person. It is taken as a sign of annoyance.
Be careful of
cultural and social sensitivities of the regions. There is no single
rule for that, the best way is to observe and follow.
The “NAMASTAY” is a
local form of greeting. It involves the joining of your palms as during
prayer in church – well, not exactly, but it can pass (in church, the
two thumbs are crossed, in the Indian “NAMASTAY” , the thumbs join but
remain parallel to each other: this is only for information as the
difference is not visible to the person in front of you).
If you find the lady
is not extending a hand shake, go for the “NAMASTAY” , Even with men,
the “NAMASTAY” can be an excellent little PR gimmick! Follow it up with
a “AAP KAISE HAIN” (how are you?) and you have broken the first block of
ice if one there was!
If somebody has
invited you home for dinner, carry with you a box of sweets or at least
a chocolate bar for the kid.
Many Indians are in the habit of shaking their head in the course of
conversation or taking instructions. Don't show amusement if you witness
women without permission.
Indian weddings are
one of the most famous social ceremony liked by western people.
Terrorism & Unsafe
Areas to Travel
Kashmir in the extreme north as well as areas in the extreme north-east.
Foreigners, especially West Europeans ands Americans, are at risk to
hostage-taking by terrorists in those areas. The rest of India is safe
haven for everybody.
Never argue strongly
You should not
become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for possession of
narcotic substances can be severe. There is a minimum sentence of six
months for possession of small amounts for personal consumption only.
Visa, Insurance &
You should keep a
photocopy of your passport, Indian visa and flight ticket separate from
the originals when travelling. This will save you much inconvenience and
time if your documents are lost or stolen. We strongly recommend that
you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.
You should check any exclusion, and that your policy covers you for all
the activities you want to undertake. See the General (Insurance)
section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.
Customs & Airport’s
Authority of India
department at the airport stop one client of mine from Spain, Her name
was Lionor Mendoza, because they were carrying some Auer Vedic Medicines
( Herbal), which they bought from one of the Aurveda Message resort from
South of India. So if anyone buy such kind of things must ask and be
sure if they can carry with them or not to their home.
You are not allowed
to take following things while visiting “TAJ MAHAL” because os security
reasons, like cigarettes, hand bags, any eatable things, matches box,
litre, Mobile phones, torch, knife, gun and many other related small
things which can harmful for Taj, people or environment.
By mistake if you
are having any of these items then they have the locker facility just
out side the gate you have to deposit those things in the locker before
to get in but often it is inconvenient for western people so better to
leave all the things in the hotel or in the car with our driver.
Dream Places in
Majority of the
people think that to spend night in a house boat in Karela Back Waters
is one of the most memorable moments of their India Travel.
Jaisalmer ( The Thar
desert) is considered as one of the most beautiful and peaceful places
"Taj Mahal" at Agra
is one of the most visiting place in India.
Amritsar is one of the most impressive monuments after "Taj Mahal".
Varanasi (Ganges) is
one of the towns which give you most strongest feeling.
Rajasthan, Kerala &
Goa are one of the most organized states for tourism.
To go Varanasi to
Kathmandu ( Nepal):- Often flights are full from Varanasi to Nepal so to
find out new possibility I wend to Nepal by road from India.
I already been many
times with my car but it was always from Varanasi, this time I start
from Jaipur (Rajasthan). It was beautiful trip.
People can go by
road to Nepal from Varanasi it’s quite easy.
Varanasi to Sanouli
Border (Nepal) via Gorakhpur is around 300km 7 hours drive.
To start early
morning is recommended to avoid busy traffic hours.
Just after get in
Nepal you can sleep in Lumbini or Chitvan National park or if you have
enough energy then be continue till Pokhara, just 160 km more through
the Himalaya Mountains 4-5hours drive.
This drive between
Nepal Border to Pokhara is one of the most beautiful drive on the
Kathmandu is 300km
from Nepal border by road.